By Tyler Hagan, Certified Aromatherapist & SEOR Admin
Here at Plant Therapy, we believe in empowering our customers with safe essential oil information to ensure they get the most out of all their essential oils. We’ve talked about dilution, KidSafe essential oils, and many more educational topics. For those of you who are familiar with our KidSafe line of essential oils, you probably already know that they were formulated for common concerns faced by parents with children 2 and up. But what about children under the age of 2? Can I use essential oils on children under 2? What oils can I use? What dilution rates should I use? These are some of the questions we get asked by our customers a lot, and we have decided it is time to provide. So, without further ado, let’s take a deeper look into using essential oils safely with our littlest children.
Can I use essential oils on children under 2?
The short answer, yes! Essential oils can be used on and around children under the age of 2. But there are some things to take into consideration. For instance, the essentials you choose to use, how you decide to use them, and what dilution you decide to use.
Which essential oils can I use?
We took the guesswork out of determining which essential oils are safe to use with our little ones. All you have to do is look for the KidSafe logo. When properly diluted, essential oils marked with the KidSafe logo are gentle enough to be used on our littlest children.
What dilution rate should I use?
The dilution rate you use with your little ones is the most important thing to take into consideration when using essential oils with children under 2. As always, we recommend starting with the lowest dilution and working your way up as necessary. Here are the dilution guidelines you should follow for infants and toddlers:
For children ages 0-3 months, we recommend using 1-2 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of a carrier oil when used for whole body application. This would leave you with a dilution of 0.1%-0.2%.
For spot usage, you can use 3-9 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of carrier.
For children ages 3-24 months, we recommend using 2-4 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of carrier when used for whole body application. This would leave you with a dilution of 0.25%-0.5%.
For spot usage, you can use 9-27 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce carrier.
Why are KidSafe essential oils and dilution rates important?
Using KidSafe essential oils and low dilution rates is important when used on children under the age of 2 for almost the same reasons it’s important for children 2 and up. It’s no surprise that younger children have super sensitive skin. The thin, sensitive skin is much more permeable to essential oils than the skin of an older child or adult. Too high a dilution could cause skin irritation and other problems later down the road.
Are there gentler options?
Having spoken briefly about the risks of using essential oils topically on our little ones, you may be asking… are there gentler options available? The answer is yes!
One of our favorite ways to share essential oils with our little ones creates an emotional and physical bond between baby and parent through touch. To use this method, all you have to do is apply the KidSafe essential oils to yourself using a low, 1% dilution and then snuggling your baby closely. This allows the baby to obtain the essential oils benefits in an easy, gentle way.
Hydrosols are another great option for babies and can be used for a variety of things. Lavender hydrosol is great to help promote sleep and relaxation for even the fussiest babies. You can spritz the lavender hydrosol directly on the baby, or you can spritz the baby’s bed right before bedtime. Our Chamomile hydrosol is excellent at providing some gentle, soothing comfort that typically accompanies teething. Soak a clean, warm washcloth in our chamomile hydrosols and gently rub it on the gums or outer jawline. If your little one develops some skin sensitivity or irritation, our Helichrysum hydrosol is gentle, soothing, and perfect for your little one.
Another product we’d recommend for your little one is our Organic Healing Balm. The Organic Healing Balm is gentle and soothing. It’s great for your little one’s sensitive skin and can help provide some relief from dry, irritated skin. It is packed with wonderful, organic carrier oils, butters, and beeswax, and is even infused with Calendula! It’s the swiss army knife of products for parents with little ones.
You can also use infused carrier oils (or just plain carrier oils!) on your little one without any added essential oils. This is an excellent option for relaxing baby and helping promote a healthy relationship between baby and parent. I love infusing our Organic Jojoba carrier oil with organic lavender buds for a gentle, relaxing massage oil. Just fill a sterile jar halfway with organic lavender buds, and then fill it with our Organic Jojoba carrier oil, or another carrier oil of your choice. Let it sit and infuse in a dark, cool place for a couple of weeks. Once you’ve let it infuse, strain the lavender buds, and use as needed.
So what about diffusion?
We’ve talked about how to use essential oils safely through topical application, as well as other safe ways to use essential oils on little ones, but what about diffusion? We recommend diffusing KidSafe essential oils for 30-60 minutes a few times a day. It is also worth noting that there are fewer risks diffusing than using essential oils topically. We recommend taking that into consideration when deciding how to use your KidSafe essential oils with your little ones. If you can accomplish your goals by diffusing, that would be the way to go.
When should I use essential oils on my little one?
We have talked about which essential oils to use, how to use them, some of the safety concerns that come with essential oil use, and some safer alternatives to essential oil use. Now you are probably asking, When should I use essential oils on my little infants and toddlers? Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer.
It’s important to remember that even KidSafe essential oils are powerful tools that should be used with intention. As parents and practicing essential oil users, we must ask the question, do the benefits outweigh the risks? If the answer is no, essential oils may not be the way to go. Another question we have to ask ourselves is, is there an effective option that is safer with fewer risks? If you answered yes, then try those things first.
Lastly, you have to ask yourself, What am I trying to accomplish? This goes back to using essential oils with intention. If there isn’t a reason for using essential oils on your little one, it’s best not to. If you’ve gone through all of the non-essential oil recommendations mentioned above, and the issue still persists, moving onto essential oils may be your next step. But should you use topical application or diffusion?
If the reason is physical (think skin irritation, discomfort from teething, etc.), topical application may be the best choice. Just remember to use the proper dilution for your child.
If the reason is more internal (lack of sleep, respiratory support, etc.), diffusion may be best. Just remember to limit diffusion to 30-60 minutes, a few times a day as needed.
Keep in mind that whenever you have doubts, questions, or just need some reassurance using essential oils on your infants and toddlers, you can always email one of our certified aromatherapists at [email protected] or check out our group on Facebook, Safe Essential Oil Recipes.